The Oregon Twilight takes place Friday evening at Hayward Field. As usual, a steady stream of talent from the University of Oregon, Oregon Track Club Elite and many other state universities and colleges make up much of the entry lists. While Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton competes in the men's 110m hurdles and fellow Olympian Cyrus Hostetler headlines the men's javelin, the heart of the event comes in the men's and women's 800m and 1,500m events.
Mulder and Jock and Loxsom, Oh My!
The main event of the evening is easily the men's 800m. With the depth of two-lap talent on the Oregon Track Club these days, this comes as no surprise. Lets take a look:
OTC Elite athletes Charles Jock, Aaron Evans, Harun Abda, Patrick Casey and veteran Tyler Mulder lead the charge. Jock is coming off of a 1:47.61 performance at Cal Irvine last weekend, as well as a 47.57 400m win at the Oregon Preview earlier this season. Abda and Evans finished second and third respectively in the second heat of the 800m at Payton Jordan last weekend, both running 1:47.15 or faster.
Casey finished second at the USA 1 Mile Road Championships last month, nearly outdueling Olympic medalist Leo Manzano for the title. His runner-up effort behind Evans in the 800m at the Oregon Preview shows he'll compete for the title Friday night. Meanwhile, Mulder's had a quiet outdoor campaign thus far, but finish fourth at the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships in the 800m event.
Finishing right behind Mulder at USA Indoors was Brooks Beasts athlete Mark Wieczorek. The consistent threat to win every 800m race, Wieczorek finished third in last weekend's top heat of the 800m at Payton Jordan. He'll be joined by teammate Cas Loxsom, who won the top heat 800m at Payton. Loxsom is obviously adapting quite well to professional running.
Rounding out the top entries, 2013 NCAA 800m champion Elijah Greer gets going outdoors. Greer teamed up with Abda, Mulder and Jock to win the Oregon Preview 4x400m relay by four second in an impressive time of 3:14.12. Travis Thompson, who finished third over 400m in 47.93 at the Oregon Preview should contend for top three, too.
Best of the Rest
The men's 800m is the main event, but the other key distance races are certainly worth the watch. The women's 800m sees a nice showdown between OTC Elite's Jemma Simpson and former Oregon Duck Becca Friday. There's plenty of competition in the field, so a sub-2:04 performance is not out of the question.
In the women's 1,500m field, Olympian Bridget Franek looks to lower her 1,500m personal best, while current Duck Annie Leblanc shoots to put a stamp on the event with a new PR as well. Pros Lauren Johnson, Alexi Pappas and Aisha Praught are all running well this season and will certainly challenge for the win, while you must keep an eye on ever improving Natalie Picchetti of the Austin Track Club.
Then comes the men's 1,500m, which is loaded with University of Oregon talent. Reigning NCAA 1,500m champion Mac Fleet leads the way, but he'll find plenty of competition from teammates Trevor Dunbar, Daniel Winn and Boru Guyota. Former Duck, Jordan McNamara, looks to get his 2014 season rolling and should challenge for top three.